Habla espanol anyone?
The morning started out slow due to a lack of translators at the Los Angeles medical site in Guatemala. So Project HOPE volunteer nurses Jennifer Mbouthia and Luz Gomez, a fluent Spanish speaker, paired up and got the pediatric clinic rolling until more translators arrived. By midday the Continuing Promise 2011 medical team was working at full capacity and treated more than a 1,000 patients.
Volunteer Nurse Roxanna Hutchcroft, who does not consider herself a fluent Spanish speaker but knows enough conversationally to get by, stood outside the pediatrics clinic ushering adorable children and their families inside. Some wait the entire day to see a provider.
While people wait across the street in the church to be escorted inside the site, children are given coloring books and taught how to wash their hands. Edge Outreach, another NGO on board, supplies clean water through a simple chemical reaction device that essentially chlorinates the local water killing the parasites and bacteria. With this water, they set up an education station and educate children on how to wash their hands so germs will not spread.
Mbouthia noticed in Guatemala, the kids seem to be thinner, “but there are some nice plump babies.” Also, the children’s teeth seem to be more rotted than in Nicaragua. “Some kids have completely black teeth all the way across because they have never used a toothbrush in their life,” says Mbouthia. The cause is mostly consuming too much candy, coffee, soda and juice.
“Because my translator was with me yesterday, he knew my diet spiel by heart,” says Mbouthia, and he would launch right into it when the mother had a generic diet complaint like candy and soda.
The one thing the providers want at all the medical sites is a patient education station on basic nutrition and hygiene, and the volunteers have stepped up to provide the much needed service.
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